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B.League All-Star canceled as 27 players test positive for COVID-19

MANILA, Philippines—Japan B.League canceled its All-Star Game in Okinawa after a total of 27 players tested positive for COVID-19 more than a week before the festivities on January 14 and 15. This will be the second straight year the the league canceled its midseason spectacle following the rise of COVID-19 cases not only within the […]

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Sam Kim collaborates with R3HAB on new English song ‘Smile’

Korean-American singer Sam Kim has dropped a brand-new English single titled ‘Smile’, in collaboration with Moroccan-Dutch DJ R3HAB.

READ MORE: Sam Kim talks viral success of ‘Love Me Like That’, his OST contribution to K-drama hit ‘Nevertheless’

The dance pop track was produced R3HAB, who has previously worked on tracks for various other hit K-pop acts, including TWICE, Chung Ha and more. “You always thinking, I lie / And my heart don’t stop denying / Baby, I love the way you thinking / I love the way you fuckin’ smile,” Kim croons in the chorus as the beat begins to drop.

The musician had come to prominence as a contestant on the third season of talent competition series K-pop Star in 2013, for which he had moved to South Korea from his hometown of Los Angeles in the United States. After emerging as the runner-up on the series, Kim promptly signed to Antenna Music, which is notably headed by You Hee-yeol, a renowned singer-songwriter in South Korea.

Since making his debut in 2016 as a soloist with the ‘I Am Sam’ mini-album, Kim had gone on to release one full-length album, ‘Sun And Moon’ in 2018, and a handful of other singles. He has also made soundtrack appearances on various Korean dramas throughout his career, with his most recent being ‘Love Me Like That’ on the Han So-hee-led Nevertheless last year.

In a previous interview with NME, Kim revealed that he never expected the virality of ‘Love Me Like That’ upon its release. “I wrote this song years ago, roughly three years ago maybe? And at that time I remember just kind of going with the flow and writing it,” he recalled. “I never imagined that it would come to be an OST to such an interesting drama, to say the least.”

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Bob Dylan says lawsuit over alleged sexual abuse is a “brazen shakedown”

Content warning: This story contains discussion of alleged sexual abuse.

Bob Dylan has responded to a lawsuit made against him over allegations of sexual abuse, calling it “ludicrous” and claiming that the woman who filed it once said she’d been “abducted by aliens and piloted their spaceship”.

The update comes via Rolling Stone, who reports that Dylan’s lawyers are refusing to shrug the case off.

“Mr. Dylan may have seemed like an easy mark for the lawyers who filed and hoped to profit off of this fraudulent lawsuit,” the lawyers reportedly said in a new filing.

“They likely assumed he would not be up for the fight and would instead pay extortion to avoid the burden, publicity, and expense of defending himself. They could not have been more wrong. Mr. Dylan seeks and will achieve justice, vindication and full accountability.”

In the initial lawsuit, filed back in August, an anonymous woman – identified in documents as J.C. – alleged that over the course of six weeks between April and May of 1965, Dylan (then in his mid-20s) “befriended and established an emotional connection” with the girl, aged 12 at the time, before abusing her both physically and emotionally.

J.C. alleged that she “sustained physical and psychological injuries, including but not limited to, severe emotion and psychological distress, humiliation, fright, dissociation, anger, depression, anxiety, personal turmoil and loss of faith, a severe shock to her nervous system, physical pain and mental anguish, and emotional and psychological damage”.

As it stands, J.C. is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial.

A representative for Dylan responded to the allegations, saying: “The 56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended.”

Just days after news of the lawsuit broke, British writer Clinton Heylin – who has written extensively about Dylan’s life and work – jumped in to question the allegations’ validity, citing the claimant’s timeline of events as “not possible” due to the minutiae of his touring schedule.

Earlier this week, it was reported that J.C. updated the time frame in which the alleged incident took place, amending the allegations to claim that her and Dylan’s encounters spanned “a period of several months in the spring of 1965”.

Now, Dylan’s lawyers claim the case to be “a brazen shakedown masquerading as a lawsuit”, which was “filed in bad faith for the improper purpose of extracting a huge payout on the threat of negative publicity”. Dylan’s lawyers assert that “the allegation is false, malicious, reckless and defamatory”.

“According to her own website, plaintiff is a psychic who specializes in ‘channeling’ the deceased loved ones of grieving families – for a fee,” the new filing, reportedly made on Thursday (January 5) in Manhattan state court, reads.

“It claims the accuser had not only claimed she had been abducted by aliens, she also purportedly claims that ‘she speaks to cats, dogs and other animals – alive and dead – as well as insects and plants’.”

Peter Gleason, J.C.’s lawyer, came to her defence, telling Rolling Stone: “Neither my client or her counsel are going to be bullied. Some people refer to Bob Dylan as a prophet. People have labels.

“More than half of Americans believe in psychic phenomena. If you’re going to attack somebody for their beliefs, you’re encroaching upon very dangerous territory. This is what this country is based on, freedom of beliefs. It shouldn’t divert our attention from the allegations. This case is about the facts.”

For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.

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BTS’ ‘Butter’ was the best-selling song of 2021 in the US

BTS‘ summer single ‘Butter’ has been revealed to be the best-selling song of 2021 in the United States.

READ MORE: BTS’ ‘Butter’ is a cool, crisp summer anthem that doubles as a potent shot of self-confidence

On January 7 KST, Billboard released the 2021 year-end list for their Top Digital Song Sales chart, made in accordance with data from MRC Data (formerly Nielsen Music). The chart features the Top 75 best-selling singles for the year of 2021.

BTS’ English summer single ‘Butter’ easily topped the list with nearly 1.9million sales, almost trippling Number Two sng ‘Fancy Like’ by Walker Hayes. It is also the group’s second time as the best-selling digital song in the uS, following ‘Dynamite’ with 1.26million copies in 2020.

More notably, ‘Butter’ is only one of four releases from BTS in 2021 that made it to the Top 10 of the sales chart. Elsewhere on the list were the Ed Sheeran-penned ‘Permission To Dance’ (Number Three with 404,000 digital copies sold) and 2020’s ‘Dynamite’ (Number six) with 308,000 sales).

‘My Universe’, the K-pop boyband’s joint single with Coldplay, came in at Number Seven with 287,000 sales. Other entries on the list that made it to the top ten include Dua Lipa‘s ‘Levitating’ and Silk Sonic‘s ‘Leave The Door Open’, among others.

BTS have sold nearly three million physical copies of their single ‘Butter’ in 2021, becoming the top-selling record in South Korea for that year. This is according to data from the end-year Album Chart for the Gaon Music Chart, the South Korean equivalent of the Billboard charts.

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DJ Kay Slay’s brother gives update on artist’s COVID battle: “He’s gonna live”

DJ Kay Slay’s brother has given an update on the New York artist and record executive’s condition after he was hospitalised with COVID.

Speaking to HipHopDX, Kwame Grayson said that his 55-year-old sibling was “definitely not going to die” and is currently in “a recovery state”.

He also said that the reports claiming the DJ – real name Keith Grayson – had been put on a ventilator were false, explaining: “It was a machine that was helping him breathe, but it was not a ventilator. I don’t know where they get this information.

“He was on a machine that was helping him breathe because he couldn’t breathe. A couple of days ago, he was in a state where everybody thought he really wasn’t going to make [it].”

Kwame said that Slay is “definitely not going to die” and added: “He was slowly fading away, but God didn’t let that happen. Everything in time and when they found out who he was, they got him powered up again. So he’s up and going.

“He’s like in a recovery state, but he’s definitely not going to die. You can trust me on that.”

DJ Kay Slay attends his own album listening party at Quad Studios on June 22, 2021 in New York (Picture: Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Earlier this week, music manager Wack 100 said that it wasn’t “looking good” for DJ Kay Slay. “Been 14 days fighting COVID and he’s just been put on a ventilator,” he wrote. “Keep him in your prayers please.”

Kwame told HipHopDX that his brother’s loved ones were initially “freaking out” over his condition, but said some of the information reported previously was “definitely inaccurate”.

“It was not true. He’s gonna live,” he explained. “He’s just in a recovery state right now.”

Kwame added: “He couldn’t even talk. But he was slowly fading out, but God is good. He’s not going to die. They’re going to move him to a private hospital, hopefully a joint where everybody can come visit him. But he’s not gonna die. That’s not in the cards. He’s in a recovery state. He’s getting stronger. He’s gonna be alright.”

Hip-hop promoter and producer Van Silk had told HipHopDX that he had been concerned about DJ Kay Slay’s health for some time, and claimed that the artist wasn’t vaccinated against COVID.

The post DJ Kay Slay’s brother gives update on artist’s COVID battle: “He’s gonna live” appeared first on NME.

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Studio owner suing Phoebe Bridgers for defamation fails in prior lawsuit against actress Noël Wells

A music producer and studio owner who is suing Phoebe Bridgers for defamation has lost an earlier, separate defamation complaint against singer-songwriter and actress Noël Wells.

In September 2021, Chris Nelson, a producer and the owner of Sound Space Studios – who is not credited as having worked professionally with Bridgers – claimed that Bridgers had falsely accused him of abusive behaviour in October 2020.

Nelson is seeking $3.8million (£2.8million) in damages from the singer-songwriter, alleging that Bridgers “intentionally used her high-profile public platform on Instagram to publish false and defamatory statements” about Nelson “in order to destroy his reputation.”

Nelson had filed a similar lawsuit against Wells in December 2020, alleging that Wells had made “false” statements about him in correspondence with the band Big Thief and had caused him emotional distress.

In an email sent to Big Thief’s manager, Tom Wironen, Wells claimed that Nelson had made an “incredibly predatory move on [her]” while working with the producer, and that he allegedly exhibited “incredibly predatory behavior… toward young females including young female musicians.”

As Rolling Stone reports, Los Angeles County Judge Gregory W. Alarcon dismissed Nelson’s case against Wells at a court hearing on Wednesday (January 5). He ruled that Wells was protected under free speech rights when she warned Big Thief about Nelson’s allegedly “predatory” behaviour.

“Artistic and literary expression are protected by the First Amendment,” Judge Alarcon wrote in his decision, finding that Wells’ comments were made “in the advancement or assistance of the creation of music.”

NME has reached out to legal representation for both Nelson and Wells, as well as a representative for Bridgers, for comment.

Last month, Nelson amended his defamation lawsuit against Bridgers to include hundreds of text messages the pair allegedly exchanged between 2016 and 2020 which he says “prove that everything Phoebe said about me was false.”

The lawsuit against Bridgers claimed Nelson and his then-girlfriend Emily Bannon “began having consensual sexual encounters” with Bridgers in 2018. According to Nelson, he and Bannon broke up in the fall of 2019, but Bridgers and Bannon continued their relationship.

According to the suit, Nelson is accusing Bridgers of joining in with Bannon’s “revenge plot” against him, because she allegedly shared Bannon’s Instagram story outlining allegations of abusive behaviour against Nelson.

Bridgers also allegedly claimed she had “witnessed and can personally verify much of the abuse (grooming, stealing, violence)” allegedly perpetrated by Nelson. The producer filed a similar lawsuit against Bannon in December last year, also accusing her of defamation.

Bridgers has yet to publicly comment on the lawsuit.

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Eric Nam releases sophomore album, ‘There And Back Again’

Eric Nam has dropped the music video for his brand-new English single ‘Lost On Me’, a cut from his sophomore album ‘There And Back Again’.

READ MORE: Eric Nam on his reinvention: “It’s an approach to music that I’ve wanted to take for a long time”

Released on January 7, the video treatment for his new single ‘Lost On Me’ sees the Korean-American singer performing the song in various settings, including a beach at sunset and an urban garden space. The song was co-written by Eric Nam alongside Grammy Award-nominated hitmaker Rabbitt, who also produced the track.

“Everything about you now is bittersweet / Last song in the symphony / Though the show might be over / You should know that your love wasn’t lost on me,” he sings wistfully as the beat drops in the chorus.

‘Lost On Me’ is also the lead single of Nam’s newly released sophomore English-language studio album ‘There And Back Again’. The seven-track record also features previously released singles ‘I Don’t Know You Anymore’ and ‘Any Other Way’, both of which dropped last year.

“‘There And Back Again’ is my first album I’m putting out as an independent artist,” Eric Nam said in light of the album’s release, per a press statement. “It’s definitely taken a while to get to this point and to be honest, it was a very tough process, but I’m thrilled with how it turned out.”

Following the ‘There And Back Again’ album, Eric Nam is set to embark on a world tour scheduled to kick off on January 24 in Phoenix, Arizona. The 51-date headline ‘There And Back Again’ tour will continue to hit 30 other North American cities, before heading to Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the UK.

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Listen to two previously unreleased versions of David Bowie’s ‘Shadow Man’

Two previously unreleased versions of David Bowie‘s song ‘Shadow Man’ have now been released – you can hear the tracks below.

‘Shadow Man’, which was initially recorded in 1970, features on the late artist’s ‘lost’ ‘Toy’ album, which includes re-recorded and revamped versions of some of Bowie’s earliest tracks.

READ MORE: Brilliant Adventure: David Bowie’s 10 defining moments from the ‘90s

To celebrate the release today (January 7) of Bowie’s ‘Toy (Toy:Box)’ special edition box set, two versions of ‘Shadow Man’ have been made available for streaming by ISO Records/Parlophone Records.

The first is the 2000-recorded ‘Unplugged & Somewhat Slightly Electric Mix’, described on Bowie’s site as “a stripped-down mix of a re-recording” of ‘Shadow Man’, which you can hear below.

Speaking about the ‘Unplugged & Somewhat Slightly Electric’ mix, producer Mark Plati recalled: “While we were recording the basic tracks Earl Slick suggested that he and I overdub acoustic guitars on all the songs. He said this was Keith Richards’ trick: sometimes these guitars would be a featured part of the track, and at other times they’d be more subliminal.

“Later, while mixing, David heard one of the songs broken down to just vocals and acoustic guitars; this gave him the idea that we ought to do some stripped-down mixes like that and that maybe one day they’d be useful.”

The second unreleased version of ‘Shadow Man’ arriving today is an early studio demo version of the track, which was recorded in the closing months of 1970 – you can hear that above.

Bowie’s ‘Toy’ album also features in the ‘David Bowie 5. Brilliant Adventure (1992 – 2001)’ box set, which was released back in November.

Earlier this week Spoon shared their cover of David Bowie‘s ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’ to mark Bowie’s 75th birthday this weekend.

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Beijing Winter Olympics COVID-19 plans look strong–WHO

Beijing’s plans to ensure next month’s 2022 Winter Olympics go ahead safely during the COVID-19 pandemic look strong, the World Health Organization said Thursday. WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said the UN health agency had worked with the International Olympic Committee to provide technical advice on the safe hosting of the Games. “The Chinese authorities […]

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Rodney Brondial headed to San Miguel after Alaska stalemate

MANILA, Philippines—Big man Rodney Brondial is heading to San Miguel to beef up an already loaded frontcourt, ending his stint with Alaska. In an Instagram post, Brondial showed his appreciation to the Aces after playing for the franchise from 2019 through 2021. “Thank you so much for the wonderful experience, all love,” wrote the 31-year-old […]

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Listen to 2 Chainz’ new single ‘Million Dollars Worth Of Game’

2 Chainz has shared a new single called ‘Million Dollars Worth Of Game’ – you can listen to it below.

READ MORE: 2 Chainz – ‘So Help Me God!’ review: countless killer punchlines, but not quite a K-O 

The rapper teased the 42 Dugg-featuring track earlier this week when announcing his seventh studio album ‘Dope Don’t Sell Itself’, which is set for release later this month. An exact date is not yet known.

‘Million Dollars…’ arrives today (January 7) with an accompanying official video that finds Chainz and Dugg lounging around a lavish mansion as they flaunt wads of cash. Tune in here:

Following on from 2020’s ‘So Help Me God!’, 2 Chainz’ forthcoming album has been described by the artist as “something new & exotic”.

“U know I ain’t been around this long w/o being a thinker and a constant student & teacher of the game,” he wrote on Twitter.

In a three-star review of Chainz’ previous record, NME said that the project “showcases the good and bad of 2 Chainz: an artist laser focused on punchlines and bangers who can be inconsistent when he has to fill an entire album with both.”

Last year, 2 Chainz released ’T.R.U. REALigion’ – a special anniversary edition of his 2012 album ‘Based on a T.R.U. Story’ – followed by the mixtape ‘GOATED: 2 Chainz’ on December 17.

Meanwhile, the rapper appears on a new remix of Papoose’s recent single ‘Thought I Was Gonna Stop’ alongside Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes and Remy Ma.

Last month saw 2 Chainz reunite with DJ Premier on the collaborative track ‘Mortgage Free’.

The post Listen to 2 Chainz’ new single ‘Million Dollars Worth Of Game’ appeared first on NME.

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Storm Erupts Over Israel Embassy’s Sponsorship of Sydney Festival

BRISBANE, Australia —  Tropical F*ck Storm has found themselves in the center of an altogether different type of storm after the experimental rock band pulled out of its Sydney Festival commitments in protest to the event’s sponsorship arrangement with the Israel Embassy.

As the annual event kicked off Thursday (Jan. 6), the award-winning Melbourne band called out organizers to “do the right thing and fix the problem they created,” pointing to a A$20,000 sponsorship deal which could see participating artists “become the targets of online harassment, bullying, smear campaigns, ridiculous accusations, misrepresentations and abuse from total strangers,” an official statement reads.

According to The Guardian, the Embassy of Israel in Canberra subsidized Decadance, a performance devised by Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin and Tel Aviv’s Batsheva Dance Company, and co-presented by Sydney Dance Company.

At the time of posting, Sydney Festival “stated they have no intention to refund the money or sever the sponsorship relationship,” the TFS statement continues, “even though the shit sandwich they’ve landed every billed artist in is blatantly obvious to them.”

(the Israeli Embassy, who donated a paltry $20,000 to some dance group). 

Rather than immediately announce online that we’d jump ship, we thought we’d actually try to do something in the real world for everyone involved and try to encourage Sydney Festival to do the right

— tropical fuck storm (@tfs_theband) January 6, 2022

Founded by The Drones bandmates Gareth Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin, the band canceled its two scheduled appearances at the fest, citing a “complete lack of respect and integrity towards the artists billed” from the annual event and its partners. 

A boycott has gathered pace since December 2021, with TFS one of 30-something featured artists, businesses, and speakers taking a stand. “I’ve made the decision to withdraw from Sydney Festival,” writes Brisbane artist Hope D, who was booked to perform at the 2022 edition. “I stand with the Palestinian people and fully support the freedom of Palestine. All tickets will be refunded and I’ll be back in Eora/Sydney very soon.”

TFS, whose Deep States last year won the ARIA Award for best hard rock or heavy metal album, is one of the highest-profile contemporary music acts to pull out. 

As the storm brewed, some 120 entertainment industry figures signed an open letter, which argues that “organizers of the boycott intentionally misrepresent the truth about Israel and make provocative statements.”

Published by the Creative Community For Peace, the letter is signed by KISS’s Gene Simmons; songwriter Diane Warren; Aaron Bay-Schuck, CEO/Co-Chairman Warner Records and others.

“We, the undersigned, believe the cultural boycott movement of the Sydney Festival is an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to advance peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition,” the letter continues. “While we all may have differing opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the best path to peace, we all agree that a cultural boycott is not the answer.”

It reads, “While art can reflect politics, and artists can choose to reflect their politics in their own art, art should never become subservient to politics and artists and cultural events should never be forced to be politicized.” 

Organizers of the festival have repeatedly backed its controversial decision to push on with its production of Decadance. Earlier, on Tuesday, the Sydney Festival board issued a second statement, noting “all funding agreements for the current Festival – including for Decadance – will be honored, and the performances will proceed.”

At the same time, its statement continues, “the board has also determined it will review its practices in relation to funding from foreign governments or related parties.”

The Sydney Festival is due to wrap up Jan. 30.

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